HELENA — The two leading Republicans for Montana’s two new congressional seats have cracked the $1 million mark for campaign money so far – although several other candidates, both Democratic and Republican, are racking up respectable fundraising numbers in the western district.
Both Ryan Zinke, running in the western district, and incumbent Rep. Matt Rosendale, running in the eastern district, have raised more than $1 million for their 2022 campaigns so far, according to reports filed at the close of January.
Zinke - a former U.S. Interior secretary, Montana's U.S. Representative, and one of four Republicans in the race for District 1 - leads all candidates with nearly $1.4 million raised since entering the race last spring – including about $582,000 he raised in the final three months of 2021.
Rosendale, running for re-election to a second term in District 2, has raised just over $1 million through the end of last year. That’s about 15 times the money raised by his nearest potential challenger, Democrat Jack Ballard of Red Lodge, who had raised $71,000 through December.
Yet in the western district, several candidates have raised well into the six-figures for their campaign.
Bozeman health-policy expert Cora Neumann, one of three Democrats in the race, has now raised $764,000 and on Dec. 31 had $637,000 remaining in her campaign account – not much less than Zinke, who had $715,000 at the end of last year.
Missoula attorney Monica Tranel, another Democrat running in the western district, has raised $416,000 for her campaign through December and had about $161,000 remaining.
The third Democrat in that race, former state Rep. Tom Winter of Missoula, entered the race last October and had raised only $52,500, including $10,000 of his own money.
On the Republican side in the western district, former state Sen. Al Olszewski of Kalispell has taken in $413,000 for his campaign challenging Zinke and other Republicans in the primary contest.
Kalispell businesswoman Mary Todd, who entered the race last fall, reported raising $113,000 through December, including $54,500 of her own money.
Three Democrats, including Ballard, also are running for the nomination to challenge Rosendale in District 2.
Ballard, an outdoor writer and former teacher and pastor, reported raising $49,000 in the last quarter of 2021, pushing his annual total to $71,000. He had only about $16,500 remaining in his campaign account on Dec. 31.
Billings City Councilwoman Penny Ronning reported raising just $15,000 through December, and Skylar Williams of Billings raised $2,500 – all but $200 coming from his own pocket.